Who doesn’t like to hear the justification of their bad habits? Who doesn’t like hearing that something they do that is generally considered a bad thing to do for their health is now ok? Everybody likes to hear positive news about something they are doing that has come into question is ok to do, and not just ok but so ok that you can keep doing it. On the heels of the digital release of the first commercial movie to look at the performance side of eating a whole foods plant based diet, ‘The Game Changers‘, comes a study concluding that there is no harm in eating red meat. In fact is says red meat is healthy.
Where do I start? I believe the meat/dairy/animal agriculture industry is at the same stage years ago the tobacco industry was at. Sowing seeds of doubt. When the tobacco industry started to lose money as studies started to show the dangers of smoking the industry started to fund studies to sew the seeds of doubt that smoking is dangerous to your health.
“Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the “body of fact” that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.”
I’m seeing the same thing now. Butter is back, carbs are bad and fat is good, and so on. Industry funded studies to keep people guessing. The animal agriculture industry is scared. It’s losing market share and losing money. More people are ditching dairy and more people are switching to meat alternatives such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger. Bristol England’s oldest pub has just launched a plant based menu and it’s selling out!
But their strategy is also working. People don’t have the time and they don’t want to make the time. Most people don’t have an issue with eating animals and animal products. We have become so disassociated with how our food comes to the table that people don’t even think about it. And most people don’t care to question it. They look at it that they are doing nothing different than what their mom/dad/grandma/grandpa did. And when people hear about the new study that what they are doing is healthy it helps to cement their beliefs and helps them to double down when that vegan brings up health issues due to eating animals.
So back to the study. I’m sure you heard about it, right? Did you also hear that it got slammed by experts in the health field? Professor Walter Willet, a professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and lead author of the EAT-Lancet Commission which advocates a plant based diet for both environmental sustainability and health had this to say:
“This report has layers of flaws and is the most egregious abuse of evidence that I have ever seen.”
The World Cancer Research Fund does not accept the study’s new interpretation of the evidence either.
Here’s another look at the study from Dr Giota Mitrou, Director of Research Funding and Science External Relations: “It could be putting people at risk by suggesting they can eat as much red and processed meat as they like without increasing their risk of cancer.”
It has since been discovered that lead researcher Bradley C. Johnston, who disclosed that during the past three years he didn’t have any ‘conflicts of interest’ to report.
Here’s what the New York Times was able to dig up:
“as recently as December 2016, Dr. Johnston was the senior author on a study which was paid for by food industry giant International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), who are ‘largely supported’ by companies such as McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Mars, and Cargill – one of North America’s biggest beef processors.”
But you didn’t hear any of this, did you. You wouldn’t because it will never make the media. You have to look for this information and it can be a lot of work, too much work for most people. Sewing the seeds of doubt.
Will things change? Will the animal agriculture business fade away as more reports on the health issues, climate issues associated with the industry make it’s way to the mainstream media? I don’t know. We may be at the very beginning of change and who knows how long the change will take.
If you find doubt creeping into your mind, use common sense, use logic. Look at the blue zones, areas in the world that are predominantly plant based and the longest living. Then look at the standard western diet areas, the areas with the highest disease rates.
Yours in health,